Sunday, 13 September 2015

Was Solomon a Good or Bad King? – Part 2

Ultimately Solomon’s desire for wealth and power eventually clouded his judgement and he fails in the most important area of his life, his walk with God.

Source: BiblePic.com
In my previous article I discussed the reign, wisdom and organisational skills of King Solomon and in this article I would like to discuss his riches and power, and finish with a conclusion to try to establish whether King Solomon was a good or a bad king.

Solomon’s Riches and Power - God’s promise to Solomon of great riches was fulfilled. He acquired 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses for use in the large international trade. A large fleet of ships operating in the Mediterranean and the Red sea, trading goods in the various countries they visited, returning every three months with a cargo of ivory, gold and other riches. Solomon’s personal wealth and the prosperity of his kingdom was also increased by the flow of visitors from all over the world bringing him presents to sit in his court and listen to his wisdom and many stories.

However, it was his need to maintain that wealth and his apparent love of money that corrupted his character. Pawson in his book, Unlocking the Bible, suggests that many of Solomon’s marriages were politically motivated such as his one to Pharaoh’s daughter.  He goes on to say, that in the case of Pharaoh’s daughter, as an Egyptian she could not live in the Holy city of Jerusalem. Solomon therefore built her a palace outside the city wall just north of the temple. Excavations there have recently uncovered the only Egyptian artefacts in the whole of Israel.


Source:biblepic.com
During his reign Solomon took for himself, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonianite and Hittite wives acquiring a harem of 700 wives and 300 concubines. The result was that they brought their own gods with them setting up shrines in and around Jerusalem, leading him and the people astray into the idol worship of their gods. This was clearly against God’s instructions given in Deuteronomy 17:17, stating that an Israelite king must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. In addition to this, his heavy taxation and forced labour of the Jews brought him no favour amongst his own people, especially amongst the ten northern tribes as Solomon taxed his own tribe, Judah, less heavily than the others. They were however, not in a position to complain, as he was every part the King that the Jews had asked for. As we see in 1 Samuel 8:11, 16-19 when God makes clear what will happen if they insist on an earthly king; ‘He said, this is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.’ But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said.‘ We want a king over us’.

Conclusion

Solomon began his reign well, following in the footsteps of his father David in his worship of God. His wisdom was unequalled, a demonstration of this was his judgement over the two prostitutes who claimed to be the mother of the same baby (1 Kings 3) and the fact that people from all over the world came to him bearing gifts just to sit and hear him talk and listen to his stories. He had excellent organisational skills and was a great statesman of current affairs which also added to his immense wealth. 

It could therefore be concluded that Solomon was in fact a good king. However, he was not everything that God said an Israelite king should be as described in Deuteronomy 17. It has also been suggested that he lacked the common touch and was ambitious and selfish by nature, concerned more with his own glory and reputation than that of God’s. 

Therefore taking in to account all the above let's consider the final conclusion: Politically, economically, strategically, and his skill in showing great wisdom in worldly matters, Solomon was a good king. However, spiritually, he is lacking in his dedication and worship of God and fails to keep God’s laws and commandments. Solomon’s allegiance should have been to God first and foremost and not to other nations and their kings, or the false god’s of his many wives. Ultimately Solomon’s desire for wealth and power eventually clouded his judgement and he fails in the most important area of his life, his walk with God. Therefore as to whether Solomon should be considered a Good King or a Bad King, may well rest with your view point regarding God's plan for salvation and His amazing grace. So, Good or Bad King? You decide.

The Lord bless you.

Author: Kevin Hunt 

May God bless and enrich your life

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2 comments:

  1. Excellent 2 part series. Thank you for sharing God Bless you and keep you safe always

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